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Author Topic: From Johnson City to Chicago  (Read 1357 times)

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From Johnson City to Chicago
« on: April 24, 2017, 03:28:18 AM »

I am planning a trip from my new workplace of Johnson City, Tennessee, to my familyís stomping grounds near Chicago, Illinois, early in the summer. Since Iíve done this trip a few times, Iíve already driven the most obvious routes, as you can see in this map:



What I would like is any advice you see fit to give for a routing and activities, both roadgeeky and not, about a new way to get back to Chicago. I am not averse to going a fair a bit out of my way and seeing some new stuff. The trip is normally about 700 miles, and so anything less than 1,000 would work nicely. Do you have any ideas about what I could do? Should I head east into West Virginia and Ohio before heading west, or should I check out the new bit of I-69 in southwest Indiana? Are there any good routes to clinch?

Iím hoping to make this a two-day trip, maybe staying in a hotel for the night or perhaps hauling out my tent. So, information on good places to stay would also be more than welcome.
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Interstates clinched: 4, 57, 275 (IN-KY-OH), 465, 640

SP Cook

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Re: From Johnson City to Chicago
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2017, 09:21:39 AM »

Actually, from Lexington KY, you might want to consider the Mountain Parkway and its proto-extension to Prestonsburg KY and US 23 South, which becomes I-26 at the TN-VA state line.  Only 51 miles of 2 lane, most of that "Super 2" and the rest very good and it is a very scenic route.
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hbelkins

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Re: From Johnson City to Chicago
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2017, 04:01:24 PM »

Actually, from Lexington KY, you might want to consider the Mountain Parkway and its proto-extension to Prestonsburg KY and US 23 South, which becomes I-26 at the TN-VA state line.  Only 51 miles of 2 lane, most of that "Super 2" and the rest very good and it is a very scenic route.

You read my mind.

Plus, all the construction on the Mountain Parkway between exits 57 and 75 is something that might intrigue the roadgeek in you. The Pikeville Cut-Thru is a pretty neat engineering feat, and Pound Gap at the KY/VA state line was the biggest, most expensive project ever in Kentucky at the time it was built.

Other options: US 23 all the way beyond Ashland and then either the AA Highway (KY 10/KY 9) to Cincinnati, or US 35 to Dayton. Alternative: OH 32 (Corridor D) west from US 23 to Cincinnati.

US 25E through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel to join I-75 at Corbin.

If you don't mind taking two-lane routes, exit I-75 at Mt. Vernon and take US 150 across central Kentucky to Bardstown, then KY 245 over to I-65. It's all of modern construction.
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HazMatt

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Re: From Johnson City to Chicago
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2017, 06:20:43 PM »

I'm doing this same trip in a couple weeks, albeit one-way from Hickory NC and passing through Johnson City.  I'm going farther than you'd probably like though by way of St Louis -> Dubuque IA -> Madison WI.

Last time I did this I took US52 from Bluefield to Cincinnati, then US 35 from Dayton to Michigan City.  US52 is a very interesting drive through West Virginia, but a bit of a chore.  Portsmouth to Cincinnati follows the Ohio River if you're into that; you could take US 23 north to there.

If you've not taken I-77 into West Virginia I'd recommend that.  Otherwise US23 or Kentucky Parkways are a great choice, or any of the suggestions made by others already.
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hbelkins

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Re: From Johnson City to Chicago
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2017, 10:16:29 PM »

A slight modification to the Mountain Parkway suggestion made by SP and echoed by me.

The closest route actually involves US 119 and KY 15 instead of staying on US 23. At the bottom of the mountain after crossing into Kentucky, turn left onto US 119 south. At Whitesburg, continue on KY 15 north. This is an ARC corridor and it deposits you on the Mountain Parkway at Exit 43.
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Re: From Johnson City to Chicago
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2017, 03:00:39 AM »

Thanks for everyone's advice so far. I do apologize for being so dilatory in replying.

Anyway, it seems that the basic recommendation is to head north from Johnson City and from there connect to the Mountain Parkway, which seems quite doable. With that in mind, I've sketched out the following route. Any comments, in particular with respect to interesting stuff to see on the way, would be much appreciated.



https://www.google.com/maps/dir/36.5949141,-82.5720225/41.0764079,-87.8652188/@38.8328442,-86.0276723,7.5z/data=!4m24!4m23!1m20!3m4!1m2!1d-82.792286!2d37.1237912!3s0x88452c5834c19abf:0x96c3c9acf9f2c5f6!3m4!1m2!1d-83.609444!2d37.7596706!3s0x88437e36b1e238c3:0x4af0173ba50f094a!3m4!1m2!1d-84.5694337!2d38.439963!3s0x8842222eafa090f3:0xebe1fcc196f5e01!3m4!1m2!1d-86.9730638!2d40.4674534!3s0x8812fc8f59e38e53:0x9c0aa4b2eea573ec!1m0!3e0

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hbelkins

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Re: From Johnson City to Chicago
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2017, 05:42:37 PM »

You opted for the KY 15 route.

You might want to veer off in Hazard onto KY 476 to see the Mother Goose House.

There's construction along KY 15 north of Hazard, but not really anything to really catch your eye.

There's a neat overlook on US 23 just before you get to Norton that has a nice view of the valley below.
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Roadgeekteen

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Re: From Johnson City to Chicago
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2017, 10:54:16 PM »

I wish I could go on fun road trips like the rest of you :banghead:!
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dmr37

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Re: From Johnson City to Chicago
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2017, 04:17:26 PM »

I wish I was 14 again :spin:
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Re: From Johnson City to Chicago
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2017, 05:53:16 PM »

I know itís been a while, but I thought people might want to know that I did end up taking the KY-15 route through Hazard. I enjoyed driving on the smaller roads for a change, although there was more traffic on them than I had anticipated. I guess thatís just me being used to the emptier roads of the west. Still, being from Chicago, itís interesting to me how people deal with roads hilly or mountainous topography, and there was a bit of clever engineering to keep me occupied. There was also one instance where it appears they just blasted a roadway through a cliff just so they could build a high school at the top.

I also got to the scenic overlook hbelkins mentioned, although it was a bit foggier out than I had hoped:


That said, watching the cars appear out of the fog onto the bridge was pretty cool to look at. I must have watched them for at least ten minutes. I had a bit of solitude too, since no one else was enticed to get off the highway. Iíll definitely have to get back there though on a sunnier day, if Street View is any indication.



Thanks everyone for your input. It made for an interesting trip.
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Interstates clinched: 4, 57, 275 (IN-KY-OH), 465, 640

 


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